Quotations of Wisdom

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Epicurus

The time when most of you should withdraw into yourself is when you are forced to be in a crowd. [Q806]

Senator Paul Simon

In February 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt ordered 120,000 Japanese Americans living in California, Oregon, and Washington, none of whom had committed a crime, from their home. They had from one to three days to sell all of their property and put all their possessions into one suitcase before the federal government sent them to camps in Idaho and other inland states ... While the action of our government cannot be compared to Hitler's Holocaust, it is illustration of the reality that the passion of a nation can be aroused against a minority if leadership is irresponsible ... There needs to be restraining voices defending the rights of minorities or those expressing unpopular views. [Q1715]

D. A. Ridgely

When I was young American politics were fairly straightforward: conservatives let you keep all your money in return for telling you how to live your life, while liberals let you live as you pleased in return for all your money. Now the only difference is whether they want your money or your life first. [Q1839]

Clarence Darrow

The world is made up for the most part of morons and natural tyrants, sure of themselves, strong in their own opinions, never doubting anything. [Q1109]

Thomas Jefferson

The will of the people is the only legitimate foundation of any government, and to protect its free expression should be our first object. [Q194]

Plutarch

To make no mistakes is not in the power of man; but from their errors and mistakes the wise and good learn wisdom for the future. [Q790]

Robert Pirsig

Any effort which has self-glorification as its final endpoint is bound to end in disaster. [Q375]

Bell Hooks

I will not have my life narrowed down. I will not bow down to somebody else's whim or to someone else's ignorance. [Q710]

Marvin Minsky

Common sense is not a simple thing. Instead, it is an immense society of hard-earned practical ideas — of multitudes of life-learned rules and exceptions, dispositions and tendencies, balances and checks. — Page 22, Prologue — The Society of Mind [Q1994]

Clarence Darrow

I have suffered from being misunderstood, but I would have suffered a hell of a lot more if I had been understood. [Q1099]

Richard P. Feynman

The idea is to try to give all the information to help others to judge the value of your contribution; not just the information that leads to judgment in one particular direction or another. [Q736]

Virgil

If ye despise the human race, and mortal arms, yet remember that there is a God who is mindful of right and wrong. [Q1581]

Ward Cunningham

There is a programming smell here… which is kind of like the smell in your refrigerator, you know. There's a sign that there's something wrong, but you can't quite put your finger on it. But you know if you leave it there, its only going to get worse. [Q221]

Eduardo Galeano

I am astonished each time I come to the U.S. by the ignorance of a high percentage of the population, which knows almost nothing about Latin America or about the world. It's quite blind and deaf to anything that may happen outside the frontiers of the U.S. [Q717]

Robert Fuller

When we're unable to stand up to put-downs, we hate those who diminish us; those who, assuming their own superiority, condescend to us or presume to know what's best for us. When we find ourselves without resources or allies, we despise those who take us for nobodies. [Q1348]

Jonas Salk

Nothing happens quite by chance. It's a question of accretion of information and experience ... it's just chance that I happened to be here at this particular time when there was available and at my disposal the great experience of all the investigators who plodded along for a number of years. [Q485]

Michael Korda

The freedom to fail is vital if you're going to succeed. Most successful people fail from time to time, and it is a measure of their strength that failure merely propels them into some new attempt at success. [Q457]

Václav Havel

None of us know all the potentialities that slumber in the spirit of the population, or all the ways in which that population can surprise us when there is the right interplay of events. [Q1750]

Lenny Bruce

Communism is like one big phone company. [Q334]

Michel de Montaigne

I write to keep from going mad from the contradictions I find among mankind - and to work some of those contradictions out for myself. [Q1170]

Miles Davis

Sometimes you have to play a long time to be able to play like yourself. [Q2053]

Miles Davis

Don't play what's there, play what's not there. [Q2052]

Scott Nesler

The song He Stopped Loving Her Today by George Jones reminded me of teenage heartbreak. I thought of what people do with fame. Fame comes by chance. It's used for good or not at all. We gauge fame from a triggered emotion. George Jones shared an unbridled empathy divorced from negative emotion. What a rare gift this man provided his admirers. [Q2072]

Plato

Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws. [Q882]

Václav Havel

A year ago, we all were united in the joy over having broken free of totalitarianism. Today we all are made somewhat nervous by the burden of freedom. Our society is still in a state of shock. This shock could have been expected, but none of us expected it to be so profound. The old system collapsed, and a new one so far has not been built. Our social life is marked by a subliminal uncertainty over what kind of system we are going to build, how to build it, and whether we are able to build it at all. [Q1795]

Orrin G. Hatch

For almost two decades we alternated as Chairman and Ranking Members of the Senate Labor Committee, now called the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee. During this time we were able to come together in a bipartisan fashion to craft some of this nation's most important health legislation. — Referring to Ted Kennedy. [Q284]

Václav Havel

When a man has his heart in the right place and good taste, he can not only do well in politics but is even predetermined for it. If someone is modest and does not yearn for power, he is certainly not ill-equipped to engage in politics; on the contrary, he belongs there. What is needed in politics is not the ability to lie but rather the sensibility to know when, where, how and to whom to say things. [Q1767]

Oliver Wendell Holmes

Controversy equalizes fools and wise men - and the fools know it. [Q1076]

Barry Goldwater

To be successful, representative government assumes that elections will be controlled by the citizenry at large, not by those who give the most money. Electors must believe their votes count. Elected officials must owe there allegiance to the people, not to their own wealth or to the wealth of interest groups who speak only for the selfish fringes of the whole community. (Attributed to Barry Goldwater in Paul Simon's Autobiography, page 307) [Q1819]

Karl Menninger

The voice of the intelligence is drowned out by the roar of fear. It is ignored by the voice of desire. It is contradicted by the voice of shame. It is biased by hate and extinguished by anger. Most of all it is silenced by ignorance. [Q707]

Thomas Paine

We can only reason from what is; we can reason on actualities, but not on possibilities. [Q278]

Konrad Lorenz

Evil, by definition, is that which endangers the good, and the good is what we perceive as a value. [Q1431]

Senator Paul Simon

People in a small town want to read in their weekly newspaper the stories about a family visiting their friends in New Orleans, about a birth, about an automobile accident, about the myriad small things that never make the news of a metropolitan newspaper but are the lifeblood of community of 1,200. [Q1717]

Václav Havel

Our country, if that is what we want, can now permanently radiate love, understanding, the power of the spirit and of ideas. It is precisely this glow that we can offer as our specific contribution to international politics. [Q1792]

Senator Paul Simon

The first academic offer came from Southern Illinois University, where I would teach many years later. I explained to them that while I had written a number of books and had more honorary doctorates than I deserved, I had not finished college. They said that would be no problem. They had another faculty member named Buckminster Fuller who did not have a bachelor's degree. [Q1726]

Sargent Shriver

Respect for another man's opinion is worthy. It is the realization that any opinion is valuable, for it is the sign of a rational being. [Q289]

Pete Seeger

I have sung in hobo jungles, and I have sung for the Rockefellers, and I am proud that I have never refused to sing for anybody. [Q348]

Lao Tzu

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. [Q1618]

Adlai Stevenson

The time to stop a revolution is at the beginning, not the end. [Q1652]

Václav Havel

The truth is not simply what you think it is; it is also the circumstances in which it is said, and to whom, why, and how it is said. [Q1773]

Albert Einstein

As our circle of knowledge expands, so does the circumference of darkness surrounding it. [Q399]

James Q Wilson

At root in almost every area of important concern, we are seeking to induce persons to act virtuously, whether as schoolchildren, applicants for public assistance, would-be lawbreakers or voters and public officials [Q1907]

Woody Guthrie

All you can write is what you see. [Q1042]

Albert Einstein

Intellectuals solve problems. Geniuses prevent them. [Q1956]

Plato

To prefer evil to good is not in human nature; and when a man is compelled to choose one of two evils, no one will choose the greater when he might have the less. [Q907]

Václav Havel

The real test of a man is not how well he plays the role he has invented for himself, but how well he plays the role that destiny assigned to him. [Q1774]

John Ruskin

All violent feelings have the same effect. They produce in us a falseness in all our impressions of external things, which I would generally characterize as the pathetic fallacy. [Q1046]

Marshall McLuhan

Appetite is essentially insatiable, and where it operates as a criterion of both action and enjoyment (that is, everywhere in the Western world since the sixteenth century) it will infallibly discover congenial agencies (mechanical and political) of expression. [Q1452]

Lloyd Bentsen

Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy [Q1307]

Adlai Stevenson III

The human costs of Social Darwinism are expressed in comparatively low levels of educational achievement and motivation, a widening gap between the haves and have-nots, and a divided people. [Q1865]

George Berkeley

That one idea may suggest another to the mind, it will suffice that they have been observed to go together, without any demonstration of the necessity of their coexistence, or so much as knowing what it is that makes them so to coexist. [Q1441]

Wendell Berry

The ability to speak exactly is intimately related to the ability to know exactly. [Q1340]

Harry Woodburn Chase

Our only hope of making the atom servant rather than master lies in education, in a broad education where each student within his capacity can free himself from trammels of dogmatic prejudice and apply his education accoutrement to besetting social and human problems. [Q1862]

Mohandas Gandhi

It is unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err. [Q566]

Woodrow Wilson

By 'radical,' I understand one who goes too far; by 'conservative,' one who does not go far enough; by 'reactionary,' one who won't go at all. [Q743]

Richard P. Feynman

We are at the very beginning of time for the human race. It is not unreasonable that we grapple with problems. But there are tens of thousands of years in the future. Our responsibility is to do what we can, learn what we can, improve the solutions, and pass them on. [Q737]

Murray Gell-Mann

I have been interested in phenomena involving complexity, diversity and evolution since I was a young boy. [Q979]

Unattributed

Don't take life too seriously. Noone gets out alive. [Q1066]

Maurice Strong

One of the things that I've always thought I would like to do is to develop an environmental index. Then people can measure their own environmental performance on an index as they do in other ways. [Q452]

Mohandas Gandhi

A religion that takes no account of practical affairs and does not help to solve them is no religion. [Q553]

Brian Greene

The boldness of asking deep questions may require unforeseen flexibility if we are to accept the answers. [Q741]

Carl Sagan

The universe is not required to be in perfect harmony with human ambition. [Q228]

Abraham Lincoln

Books serve to show a man that those original thoughts of his aren't very new at all. [Q490]

The Rum Diaries

No matter how much I wanted all those things that I needed money to buy, there was some devilish current pushing me off in another direction -- toward anarchy and poverty and craziness. That maddening delusion that a man can lead a decent life without hiring himself out as a Judas Goat. [Q2046]

Ralph Waldo Emerson

To be great is to be misunderstood. [Q423]

Virgil

Trust one who has tried. [Q1590]

Hesiod

I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless beyond words... When I was young, we were taught to be discreet and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly wise [disrespectful] and impatient of restraint — 8th Century BC [Q1389]

Mark Twain

Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please. [Q61]

Douglas Haig

The idea that a war can be won by standing on the defensive and waiting for the enemy to attack is a dangerous fallacy, which owes its inception to the desire to evade the price of victory. [Q1055]

Kurt Gödel

The more I think about language, the more it amazes me that people ever understand each other at all. [Q1961]

Swami Vivekananda

The more we come out and do good to others, the more our hearts will be purified, and God will be in them. [Q1141]

Caine

Can anyone be truly free who serves only himself? — "Kung Fu" Elixir — 1973 Season 2, Episode 11 [Q598]

Caine and Master Kan

Master, do we seek victory in contention? Seek rather not to contend. But shall we not then be defeated? We know that where there is no contention, there is neither defeat nor victory. The supple willow does not contend against the storm, yet it survives. — Kung Fu television series 1972 [Q518]

Plato

Democracy... is a charming form of government, full of variety and disorder; and dispensing a sort of equality to equals and unequals alike. [Q878]

Josh Billings

As scarce as truth is, the supply is always greater than the demand. [Q1854]

Stephen Hawking

Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change. [Q728]

Jack Bowman

I believe that I understand gangs better than others. Because they're formed out of necessity. They're formed by people to keep from being suppressed. [Q994]

Lenny Bruce

The liberals can understand everything but people who don't understand them. [Q336]

Flannery O'Connor

Everywhere I go, I'm asked if I think the universities stifle writers. My opinion is that they don't stifle enough of them. There's many a best seller that could have been prevented by a good teacher. [Q612]

Franklin Roosevelt

Theirs were not the gods of things as they were, but of the gods of things as they ought to be. — Speaking of Thomas Jefferson. — Monticello - Studio 360 [Q1147]

Abraham Lincoln

Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them? [Q1295]

Ralph Waldo Emerson

The faith that stands on authority is not faith. [Q420]

H.G. Wells

There is nothing in machinery, there is nothing in embankments and railways and iron bridges and engineering devices to oblige them to be ugly. Ugliness is the measure of imperfection. [Q461]

Senator Paul Simon

Thoughtfully re-examining positions that often are based on emotion more than anything should be part of the search for truth. And careful analysis should include looking at the context and culture and times in which those who wrote ancient documents lived. [Q1691]

Thomas Paine

Virtues are acquired through endeavor, Which rests wholly upon yourself. So, to praise others for their virtues can but encourage one's own efforts. [Q277]

Herbert Simon

Maybe we ought to have a world in which things are divided between people kind of fairly. [Q644]

Alexis de Tocqueville

The main business of religions is to purify, control, and restrain that excessive and exclusive taste for well-being which men acquire in times of equality. [Q963]

Adlai Stevenson

We travel together, passengers on a little spaceship, dependent on it's vulnerable reserves of air and soil, all committed, for our safety, to it's security and peace. Preserved from annihilation only by the care, the work and the love we give our fragile craft. [Q1656]

Train

I need a sign to let me know you're here, cause my TV set just keeps it all from being clear. I want a reason for the way things have to be. I need a hand to help build up some kind of hope inside of me — Calling All Angels [Q2039]

Krista Tippett

Moses, Jesus, Buddha, St. Francis of Assisi, Gandhi; These kind of people are geniuses of the art of living, more necessary to the dignity, security, and joy of humanity than the discoverers of objective knowledge. — TED - Reconnecting with Compassion - Paraphrasing Albert Einstein. [Q1399]

Nikola Tesla

The scientists from Franklin to Morse were clear thinkers and did not produce erroneous theories. The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane. [Q1675]

Sim Van der Ryn

The best design experience occur when no one can claim credit for the solution – when the solution grows and evolves organically out a particular situation, process, and pattern of communication. [Q345]

Flannery O'Connor

Conviction without experience makes for harshness. [Q611]

Plato

No law or ordinance is mightier than understanding. [Q888]

Richard Ruhl

I saw a van with a bumper sticker saying "I am a vet, therefore I drive like an animal." Suddenly I realized how many proctologist there are on the roads [Q2095]

John Steinbeck

It has always seemed strange to me... the things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling, are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest, are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first they love the produce of the second. [Q1369]

Václav Havel

As soon as man began considering himself the source of the highest meaning in the world and the measure of everything, the world began to lose its human dimension, and man began to lose control of it. [Q434]

Master Kan

Remember always that a wise man walks with his head bowed; humble like the dust. — Kung Fu television series 1972 [Q513]

Frederick Douglass

Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe. [Q697]

Clarence Darrow

Even if you do learn to speak correct English, whom are you going to speak it to? [Q1095]

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